Local domestic violence victim speaks up - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Local domestic violence victim speaks up

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Evansville has a number of organizations to help victims of domestic violence, but officials say the biggest hurdle is getting those victims to come forward and ask for help.

14 News spoke with Kelly Wonder about her struggle and how she escaped what could have been a death sentence.

"Maybe I'm not as strong as I thought I was," says Wonder.

She says it was a rude awakening when her two-month relationship had turned violent.

"I've always been a strong, decisive person that never thought I'd be put in that situation," says Wonder. "And I thought if the situation ever did present itself, I would exit immediately and that didn't happen."

Wonder was a 23-year-old student at Purdue University when she began dating a co-worker.

She says one night their argument turned physical.

"That night I was just kind of shocked, and didn't really believe it happened and blamed myself and thought, 'Well it was my fault it escalated,' and tried to overlook it,' says Wonder.

An oversight that almost cost Wonder her life.

During the next violent encounter, Wonder says the man tried to shoot her in the face and missed.

"It was very severe and I knew if I didn't get help, I would die," Wonder tells 14 News.

Nearly 10-years later, she remembers the night in detail.

"He pulled me back to his room, locked the door and started beating me with a gun and an empty alcohol bottle and so it was really just curled up in the fetal position trying my best to protect myself," says Wonder.

Roommates that knew exactly what was happening, did nothing.

"There were other people in the house, but when they came to the bedroom door they just said if you're going to beat her, you need to beat her quietly," says Wonder.

Wonder says she did finally go to police.

Her attacker plead guilty to battery with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to six-years in prison.

He only served two-and-a-half.

Now, Wonder works part-time with Albion, helping other women of domestic violence.

She says telling her story is important to empower women to come forward if they are in similar situations.

"I know the service providers have been very busy and I'd like to think because there's more domestic violence occurring, but because more people are comfortable coming forward and more comfortable seeking help," says Nick Hermann, Vanderburgh County Prosecutor.

For more information about domestic violence and where you can find help if you are a victim, click here.

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